Otumoetai Eels premiers signalled their intentions in round 9 of the Cross Country Rentals Wai-Coa-Bay (Waikato-Coastline-BOP) combined competition on Saturday by pummelling hapless Turangawaewae from Ngaruawahia 80-18 in a 14-try romp at Mitchell Park.
The Eels were celebrating their women in league volunteers with the clubrooms all pinked out and pink Steeden game balls used on the day.
Eels captain and star halfback Josh Weeden scored 40 points from 4 tries and 12 conversions and was also instrumental in setting up five other tries in the process. Others to shine were dynamic hooker Tane Leef who grabbed a hat-trick of tries, stand-in 1.98m fullback Josh Allen who scored two, loose forward Peter Bidois who was into everything and big forwards Dan Karauna, Vance Te Utupoto and Justin Wigmore who set the platform up front.
The Eels are still missing at least six of their premiers to come back from injury but luckily they have bottom-of-the-table Hamilton United to get through this Saturday in Hamilton before they host the top dogs Hamilton City Tigers a week later at their hallowed Mitchell Park.
In other matches on Saturday, Rotorua's Pikiao Warriors and Taupo Phoenix fought out a dogged 18-all draw in Taupo with both teams fighting to stay in the hunt for the top four at the halfway stage of the competition. Taniwharau hammered Hamilton United 64-4 and the game between Ngongotaha Chiefs and Tokoroa's Pacific Sharks was postponed because of rain.
This weekend the two top teams clash with Hamilton City Tigers hosting second-placed Pacific, Ngongotaha travel to Turangawaewae, Taniwharau host Taupo in Huntly and the Eels are in Hamilton to take on United.
In the two main local district youth international games of the BOP-Coastline combined round, Whakatane's Mataatua Saddlebacks overcame a 12-point deficit to defeat Otumoetai 24-22 right on fulltime in the under-17s game in pouring rain at Mitchell Park on Sunday.
The game was played in high intensity with both teams fielding Waicoabay representative players. The Saddlebacks won to close the gap on their rivals.
Across town at Papamoa, third-placed Eels under-15s overcame second-placed Papamoa Bulldogs 24-14 in a high quality game to get boasting rights for local supremacy.
Premiers: Otumoetai Eels 80 (Josh Weeden 4, Tane Leef 3, Josh Allen 2, Peter Bidois, Ryan Gordon, Kennedy Sula, Vance Te Utupoto, Clayton Parai tries; Weeden 12 conversions) Turangawaewae 18.